Giving Up Sugar is Hard. Here are 5 Things That Help

giving up sugar is hard

Giving Up Sugar is Hard. Here are 5 Things That Help

Video | Sugar Addiction | Diet | Hunger | Cut Your Sweet Tooth | Set Goals

No food is worse for your waistline than sugar. When you eat or drink it, it puts your body in a hormonal state that favors fat storage. But giving up sugar comes at a price.

Like other addictive substances, when you stop taking in sugar, your body goes through withdrawal. So, your reward for stopping sugar is a few days of irritability, headaches, and fatigue. In this post, I’ll share five things that I’ve found helpful when coaching people to a sugar-free lifestyle.

Giving Up Sugar At-A-Glance

  • Understand that sugar addiction is real
  • Eat to stabilize your blood sugar
  • Avoid extreme hunger
  • Cut your sweet tooth with mint
  • Set short-term goals

Giving Up Sugar is Hard. Here are 5 Things That Help [Video]

In this video, you’ll learn…

  • How giving up sugar will affect your body.
  • Ways to counteract the negative effects of sugar withdrawal.
  • A strategy for success in the future.

1) Understand that sugar addiction is real

The first thing to understand is that sugar addiction is real. When you eat sugar, it changes the chemistry in your brain by releasing a “feel-good chemical” called dopamine.

There is an actual chemical change happening inside your brain, meaning you aren’t weak or pathetic for craving sugar.

sugar cravings

2) Eat to stabilize your blood sugar

You want to work toward removing sugar from your diet, and you’ll make that process easier if you feed your body foods that stabilize your blood sugar. 

It is the dips in blood sugar that bring on that intense hunger where you feel like you must have some sugar immediately. You want to eat in a way that prevents those dips, which allows you to feel more in control. 

A practical way to do this is to feed yourself a high-fat salad each day as you are moving away from sugar.

  • The salad greens and colorful vegetables provide volume, nutrients, and fiber, which are all things that keep your stomach full and your blood sugar steady.
  • The high-fat ingredients in your daily salad will keep blood sugar steady as well, so don’t be afraid to put raw nuts and seeds, avocados, hard-boiled eggs, and cheese on your salad. 
salad to stabilize blood sugar

Many of us have a hard time adding fat to our diets because the diet advice for the past 50 plus years has been focused on low-fat.

However, fat is far from evil. In fact, it is an important component of a healthy and enjoyable weight loss plan for two reasons.

  • First, consuming fat in your diet prevents spikes in blood sugar, which keeps the fat-storing hormone, insulin, low.
  • Second, dietary fat is very hunger-satisfying, which may lead you to consume fewer calories throughout the day.

That brings me to my next point, which is that you’ll want to avoid extreme hunger. 

3) Avoid extreme hunger

The beginning of your journey to a sugar-free life creates a lot of changes for your body.

Your body is a very adaptive machine.

If your diet up to this point has been high in sugar or your meals have included quick-digesting carbs like cereal, bread, pasta, and desserts, your body adapted to your high-sugar lifestyle and became very good at running on sugar.

Removing those foods and replacing them with slower digesting foods will cause your body to feel temporarily robbed of energy.

If you let yourself get too hungry during this transition, your body will try to get you to eat by spiking your hunger and cravings.

Not only does your body want food, but it also wants energy, and there’s no quicker source of energy than sugar.

By staying slightly ahead of hunger, you avoid the extreme hunger that feels like it can’t be satisfied with anything other than sugar. 

hunger and quitting sugar

4) Cut your sweet tooth with mint

There is no denying that sugar has a powerful grip, but as you stop feeding it to your body, you notice that grip weakening.

Yet, there is always that remembrance of the pleasure of sugar in the back of your brain. This is what’s behind the common thought of just wanting a little something sweet after a meal.

If you find it challenging to give up sweets after dinner, it is helpful to change the taste in your mouth with something minty like a stick of sugar-free gum.

If you try this, I think you’ll find that the strong mint flavor overwhelms your taste buds, which quickly removes your mouths’ need for something sweet.

stop overeating sugar

5) Set short-term goals

The strategies that I discussed have helped many people move away from sugar, myself included.

While the goal is to give up sugar for good, that thought is very intimidating.

If you tell yourself that you can never eat sugar again, you’re likely to implode and revert back to your old ways.

Instead, set up short-term goals. Set a goal to give up sugar for one day, and then step it up to one week or one month.

Those short-term victories will build your confidence and allow your body and brain to move away from their need for sugar. 

short-term goal to quit sugar

If you are looking for some guidance to complete your transition away from sugar, I have a free 0,1,2,3 strategy that you can download along with a video series that explains how to get the most out of the strategy.

About the Author:

Dr. Becky Gillaspy, DC graduated Summa Cum Laude with research honors from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1991.

11 thoughts on “Giving Up Sugar is Hard. Here are 5 Things That Help

  1. Hi Dr. Becky!
    Thank you SO much for all that you (and your husband) do!!!!…I see that you recommend electrolytes and I use nuun tablets…(right now I’m using the immunity for an extra boost due to covid-19)do you recommend those?!?

  2. I enjoy your video teachings. I was noticing that you had a sugar bowl filled and that looked like it was your home. Are you eating that?

  3. Eat to stabilize your blood sugar sounds like the advice from the ADA, eat 6 meals a day, we know that is not good!

  4. I have been searching for someone like you for several years! You are practical, functional & honest, especially about the changes that happen with menopause. Do you have more information for post menopausal nutrition & weight loss? Thank you.

  5. Hi, day two of my 40 day 0,1,2,3 challenge. On top of going 0 sugar I also go 0 on alcohol.
    Mornings are fine – small bowl of porridge (made with water) with loads of blueberries and banana. I love this and with certain variations eat every day.
    Salad for lunch with cup of beans als some nuts – also no problem.
    BUT 4 pm comes and I’m starving – my dinner (2 cups of steamed veg/cup of brown rice and either lean fish or more beans) is not until 6:30pm…..any ideas for filling snack that will not ruin dinner? I have tried apple but that is too little….Any ideas will be welcomed

    1. You are very brave. Give yourself a pat on the back,please,as I would do!

      Try nuts (raw of course),as they dont bring on cravings as fruit does. For me, it works.

      Eating more protein also helps me. See if it works for you…

  6. I work night shift, so it’s difficult to be able to eat to stop a sugar dip.
    I try eggs about 4 pm, begin work at 7 , break at midnight, work a lot more, hospital, break at 3:30 am help ! What can I eat. There’s no catering. It’s like being jet lagged, same the next night, then sleep, get up at 4, what breakfast/dinner/ can’t face meat. Any advice?

  7. Considering your 21 day challenge. Do you have to follow the menu included or is it ok to just do the macros?

    1. Hi Carolyn, there are daily “Busy Day Menus” that give you easy-to-prepare ideas of what to eat each day. These can be substituted if you do not wish to make the main daily menu recipes.

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